SIU Geologist talks about the Earthquake in Turkey and Syria

He said here in the Heartland we should prepare for something like this to happen.
Published: Feb. 7, 2023 at 8:35 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 7, 2023 at 9:25 PM CST
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CARBONDALE, Ill. (KFVS) - One SIU geology professor calls the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria horrific. He said here in the Heartland we should prepare for something like this to happen.

As of Monday, the death toll from the earthquake has surpassed 7,700.

“The time to prepare is now,” said SIU Professor Dr. Harvey Henson. “Right? Because they don’t happen with warning.”

Henson is an Associate Professor in Science Education and Geology at SIU.

He says that the southern Turkey and Syria area is prone to significant earthquake.

“It’s a major tectonic zone and it’s a mountainous area where the Anatolian fault system comes in,” said Henson. “This was along the east Anatolian fault system which is famous for large earthquakes. Every 15 or 20 years there’s a significant earthquake in that region along that major tectonic boundary.”

Henson said buildings in southern Turkey are vulnerable to powerful earthquakes.

“Unfortunately, in that part of the world, a lot of the buildings are constructed out of unreinforced masonry,” said Henson. “So you have total collapse of major buildings, multi-story buildings and now they’re just like pancakes of rubble.”

This large and devastating earthquake made Henson think, what could happen in our region if a significant quake happens?

“Yeah we’ve had devastating earthquakes in the Midwest historically. Will they happen again? We think so,” said Henson. “Most geologist and scientist agree that they could happen again maybe in our lifetime.”

Henson said that living in this region and seeing what happened in Turkey, we should be aware of the potential threat of an earthquake.

“We should prepare. And there are things we can do. We can practice the duck cover and hold on safety drill in our schools, in our homes,” said Henson. “You know and have earthquake to go kits inside our home, emergency kits at home, at school or at work. There are so many different things we can do.”